United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Chairman Allison M. Macfarlane

The Honorable Allison M. Macfarlane was sworn in as Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on July 9, 2012. She was nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate to a term expiring June 30, 2013.

Dr. Macfarlane is a scientist and an expert on nuclear waste issues.  She holds a doctorate in geology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a bachelor's of science degree in geology from the University of Rochester. Prior to beginning her term as the NRC's 15th Chairman, Dr. Macfarlane was an associate professor of environmental science and policy at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA.

From 2010 to 2012, Dr. Macfarlane served on the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future, which was convened by the Obama Administration to make recommendations about a national strategy for dealing with the Nation's spent nuclear fuel and high-level nuclear waste. Her research interests have ranged from environmental policy and international security issues associated with nuclear energy, to the back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle.

During her academic career, Dr. Macfarlane held fellowships at Radcliffe College, MIT, and Stanford and Harvard universities. From 1998 to 2000, she was a Social Science Research Fellow-MacArthur Foundation Fellow in International Peace and Security. She has also served on National Academy of Sciences panels on nuclear energy and nuclear weapons issues. From 2003 to 2004, she was on the faculty at Georgia Tech in Earth science and international affairs.

Dr. Macfarlane is the third woman to serve as the NRC Chairman, the 33rd member of the Commission, and the only individual with a background in geology to serve on the Commission.

A native of Connecticut, Dr. Macfarlane and her husband, an anthropologist, now live in Bethesda, MD. They have two children and a dog.

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Wednesday, July 17, 2013